The Sunday Afternoon "Finish On"

GREYHOUND Racing Victoria's announcement of a race series styled on the Pegasus World Cup, ergo TAB The Everest, has tongues wagging.

Peter Davis

28 February 2021

On a night at The Meadows when Tommy Shelby’s gripping Australian Cup win and Stanley Road’s Super Stayers success were ‘top shelf’, GRV’s announcement of a race series styled on Pegasus World Cup, ergo TAB The Everest, had tongues wagging.

Said to have been discussed at management level for up to four months, the proposed world first greyhound ‘slot race’ – The Phoenix – is to be Victoria’s first $1 million event.

Closing the press release on the December 18 event is: “The final race details and conditions will be released in the coming months.”

The finer detail aside, the race holds a $75,000 entry fee.

A total of $1,145,000 in prizemoney is on offer with the eight dogs contributing $600,000.

Hold the phone, stop there!

As far as I’m concerned the noms are closed, all slots are taken … I’ll have ‘ém all, thanks.

All I need to know is when does GRV want my $600k? Tomorrow? Next week? Next month? … it does not matter! In just on nine months my gross profit will be $545,000. You beauty!

And if GRV thinks it can limit the number of slots to entity, owner or trainer can procure they had better have the legal people on speed dial.

Applause for promotion but the Pegasus World Cup is on its knees and The Everest needs the might of Godolphin, Chris Waller, William Inglis, Tabcorp and Star City to fill ‘slots’.

Whether this Phoenix takes flight is pure conjecture but a little more detail should have been disclosed at the off.

Phoenix maybe but it’s a potential Dodo without smart minds at the table.

IN THE RED CORNER

The Australian Greyhound Racing Rules are clear regarding marring and failing to pursue the lure but lines are becoming blurred.

At Bendigo on Wednesday, a tier three meeting, race four is a case in point.

The 425m Grade 7 contest was secured by outsider Prince Archer in ‘spectacular’ fashion in a very slow 24.59.

His from near-last to first effort was circumstantial given the antics of Time Turner (box 5).

Re Time Turner, stewards rightly imposed GAR 69(1) for marring.

Evil Entry (box 8) was slapped by the same rule – this being failing to pursue the lure.

Those decisions are hard to dispute but clearer eyes were needed to assess the antics of Sugar Boloney at Warrnambool on February 15.

Stewards noted: “Acting under the provisions of GAR 69B (1), Sugar Boloney was charged with failing to pursue the lure with due commitment (by reason of injury).”

Seven days later, the black dog contested a clearance trial at the same track and you be the judge on this ‘passed trial’ offering.

All too often greyhounds dodge stand-down periods due to the nature of the indiscretion but time has come for those variables to be done away with or stewards to be (much) better trained in race assessment.

Stewards are regulators and any decisions should be outside commercial necessity (the numbers needed to fill meetings).

It’s interesting that Sugar Boloney has drawn box eight at Warrnambool on Monday (race nine, box eight) and will likely start favourite despite his latest antics.

Let’s just see what happens there … hope he does everything right for connections!

And what about Pearl’s Entity at Horsham on February 16. She disgraced herself in the latter stages but, rather than being deemed to have marred, stewards invoked failure to pursue the lure.

The start prior, Pearl’s Entity at Warragul on December 21 was charged with marring.

Just how are the rules interpreted? Time has come, for the welfare of others, for the variables to be taken away.

CUP RUNNETH OVER

Horsham’s Cup heats on Friday were highlighted by Shima Shine’s stunning track record performance.

The star sprinter worked clear of Mr. America at the first turn and came away late to score by just over four lengths in 26.79 seconds – shaving .08s from Orson Allen’s standard set in the cup final two years back.

Since November 2019, Shima Shine has raced at the elite level and now boasts $571,283 in stakes, accumulated from just 51 starts (31 wins and 10 placings).

For his Horsham Cup heat win, connections collected a tidy $5280 while the March 6 series decider gifts $47,000 to-the-winner.

And those metrics make for an interesting comparison.

Also underway is Richmond’s Oaks and Derby. The open age sprints are also at Group 2 level and clashes on the Group Race Calendar are unavoidable (given the number of races at black type level) yet there is a stark variance in the Richmond and Horsham events.

GRV offers metropolitan class prizemoney to heat winners while the NSW editions are unchanged from the week-to-week level.

Funding in Victoria is not hindered by a hopelessly biased (inter-code) agreement but it does make the prospect of attracting the best fields to NSW feature events – and therefore profile/promotion – tougher.

‘Team’ Dailly have a ‘will travel’ mindset but why head north for the Richmond Derby with Shima Shine when it’s more convenient and reward-worthy to stay at home?

ON NOTICE

The abandonment of the Wentworth Park meeting on Wednesday had owners and trainers in a flap – and rightly so.

Overnight rain in the order of 30mm and more before lunchtime had the recently resurfaced track in a state which could not be reconstituted in time for the 10-race card to go ahead.

The timing of the resurfacing aside (the Sunday prior), what has come out of high-level talks after this cancellation is the prospect of a fixed minimum time for track inspections to be completed.

That is, hereafter, a minimum three hours noticed is expected to be given to all participants if a meeting is to be abandoned due to safely concerns with the surface.

It’s not a fix-all remedy as trainers who reside outside the three-hour zone will have headed off yet it will be better than what was on offer at Wentworth Park and Richmond on January 29.

QUEENSLAND CALLING

Last week’s Bundaberg story hit home at the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission and a frank conversation came my way on Monday.

There’s been no analysis of the timing anomaly over the 460m trip at Bundy as yet but the comms people have been supplied with detailed analysis of the disaffected races and we wait on a response to that.

Something is awry … let’s hope the tech boffins understand the importance of the issue and it’s resolved quickly.

ROUND TWO, DING DING

Just eight days back, at Goulburn, debutant Mellcat Big Boy was the biggest ‘street corner’ tip on a day which included the running of the G1 Blue Diamond at Caulfield.

As much as $10 was on offer about the son of Raw Ability and, when the lids flew, he was into $2.00.

A poor getaway and a check soon after had Mellcat Big Boy out the back at the first turn and the plunge was astray. The winner – Denice Warren’s Royal Ranger – posted 20.01 seconds.

Just six days later, Mellcat Big Boy stepped out again and, this time, a clean start was produced and he, despite changing stride mid-race when in the lead, was untroubled to score by 3 ¼ lengths in 19.89 secs.

There was no $10 on offer for the reprise – just $2.15 was the best price on offer with Fixed Odds bookies and he paid $2 on the NSW TAB.

Wonder how many who missed out on February 20 backed up for round two?

He’s talented and should go on to bigger and better things.

SEEK

Wade Birch has accepted the role of Chief Steward for the Greyhound Welfare Integrity Commission and starts work on March 22 – just two days after his final day (Golden Slipper day) with the Racing NSW.

Now, the Chief Executive role – held in interim by Steve Griffin since Judy Lind’s resignation in October – has been advertised with applications closing in three weeks.

Griffin has engaged impressively with industry in his time in the interim position and it’s expected he will put his hat in the ring for role into the future.